Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

WSJ in the Ether about the Internet

The privatization and commercialization of Cold War technology, a central part of the Reagan Revolution, entered the limelight during the 2012 presidential election with the attention given to the role of government in the economy. Controversy emerged recently with Gordon Crovitz’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Who Really Invented the Internet?” Crovitz’s […]

Adam Smith, the Census Machine, and the Beginnings of IBM

This post further develops the thesis that Adam Smith’s new conception of the wealth set the foundation for modern information practices and calculating technologies.

Why AT&T Invented and Shared the Transistor that Started the Digital Revolution

The transistor emerged from the research efforts of AT&T, the corporate behemoth that was formed by JP Morgan and guided by US policy to become the nation’s primary telecommunications provider. Fed by AT&T’s monopoly profits, Bell Labs became a virtual “patent factory”, producing thousands of technical innovations and patents a year by the 1930s. One of its major challenges was to find a more efficient successor to the vacuum tube.

Seeing from Space: Cold War Origins to Google Earth

President Eisenhower had been secretly coordinating the space program as part of the Cold War since the early 1950s. He had become accustomed to the valuable photographic information obtained from spy planes and considered satellites a crucial new Cold War technology. The D-Day invasion of Europe, which he had managed as the head of the […]

How “STAR WARS” and the Japanese Artificial Intelligence (AI) Threat Led to the Internet, Part III: NSFNET and the Atari Democrats

This is the third part of my argument about how the Internet changed from a military network to a wide scale global network of interconnected networks. In Part II I explained how the Japanese plan to create Artificial Intelligence (AI) struck fear into US policy-makers. While Part I discussed the impact of the Strategic Defense […]

How IT Came to Rule the World, 2.8: Apple, Silicon Valley and the Counter-Cultural Impulse

While Woz earned his title as the “Mozart of digital design” through his design of the Apple II, Jobs helped conceive the computer as a democratizing tool with the motto-“One person–one computer”. The microcomputer was sold as a tool that would balance the unequal relationship between institutions and the individual. It would empower the individual and allow their inner artist to emerge. The Apple II Computer went on to become the darling of the counter-cultural crowd and would remain a symbol of resistance against the corporate forces of IBM and later the predatory practices of Microsoft.

How IT Came to Rule the World, 2.5: Intel and the PC

After twenty years of government backing, the microprocessing industry was about to crawl out on its own. And it was the microcomputer that would give the semiconductor industry the legs to become viable in the commercial arena.

How IT Came to Rule the World, 1.6

Minuteman missiles utilized transistors developed by Bell Labs and then commercialized by Western start-ups who created the small silicon-based computing “chips” for their guidance systems. Combined with NASA’s Gemini and Apollo projects, the first major markets were created for integrated circuits or ICs, a crucial innovation for computing.

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  • About Me

    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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    apennings70@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.